On 27th August I left my day job. It wasn't the great farewell that most people want, it wasn't even a 'we will miss you' that wasn't really going to happen. I ended up being offered a 6 hour shift instead of 8 so … fuck it, let's go home early! As such, I didn't finish with everyone else. I simply slipped away, pretty much unnoticed by all but a few, got into my car, fired up the quit track playlist on my mp3 player, and drove home with a great big smile on my face.
First on the playlist was the theme to Back to the Future. It felt good to drive through those boom gates with a great big 'dun duuuuhn, du duuhn, du du dun duh dun duuuuuuuuuuhn' blasting through the speakers. (I know you just tried to match the tune to what I wrote there. It doesn't completely match. If this offends you: firstname.lastname@example.org)
The last song was Eminem's Lose Yourself, kinda apt since I'm now taking a year off from working for anyone else and focussing on books, books, and more books. I have that last verse down to a T so I really need to hit a karaoke bar and slay everyone with “bein' a father and a prima-donna
baby mama drama screamin' on and too much for me to want to say in one spot ...”
I got home, had a cocktail, had another cocktail, probably had another one after that … and went to bed not quite feeling like I had actually left my job.
The following day I got a cat. Why then? No clue. My girlfriend and I had been talking about getting a kitty for a while now and it seemed to make sense that if I was going to work from home from now on and be something of a hermit then having a little fuzzy friend to sit on my lap and keep me company might help. Her name is Saoirse (sur-sha). Why that name? It means liberty, and since I had just quit my job it seemed appropriate. I further like the name because it hurts everyone's brains when they see 'Saoirse' and have to reconcile that it's pronounced 'sur-sha'. Hehe.
I marathoned the last season of Game of Thrones in 3 days. My advice: don't do that. All the episodes blur together and you don't get the great sense of satisfaction in absorbing what just happened, not when you can dive straight into the next episode. From now on there should be a 2 episode per day limit. To my surprise I had avoided all spoilers completely. And it's about time they got Daenerys on a ship heading to Westeros, Jon Snow out of the Night's Watch, and Arya back to being a Stark. They certainly took their time doing all of that! (If you don't like that I just spoiled the season for you: email@example.com)
The holiday did not last long, I'm afraid. I had epic plans for it as well! I was going to have a massage. Maybe even two. I was going to go rock climbing, spend a day in the city rejoicing that I'm not at work, I was going to cook an Indian feast and then stuff myself stupid! Instead, I had burgers with my girlfriend while watching DVDs with a cat purring next to me.
On the 1st September I began punching out the words of … uh … it still doesn't have a finalised name yet. I have one prime contender but as the book is still a mile away from being finished I think it's too early to tease people with a title. No idea what the series name will be, either. It's a Napoleonic-era fantasy story, a mission behind enemy lines and then the repercussions that happen as a result. The hardest part is trying to avoid writing any previous character. Sometimes I default to a smartass Englishman with a dry wit. I am determined to avoid that in this one. Unless of course that's exactly what you're looking for, in which case I point you to Kingston Raine and the Grim Reaper.
True to nature I have abandoned my previously awesome plan. That one was to write 3,000 words a day and then edit the same in the afternoon for another project. That got shifted to: write 4,000 words a day, edit those 4,000 words, do that for September, then write and edit 2,000 words in October while I edit another book completely. But you know what? That doesn't matter either because that plan got scrapped as well.
My plan as of now: write 4,000 words a day. Edit 4,000 words a day. Forget the graveyard story that was going to be published in January, forget the post-apocalyptic story that was going to be published in April, and instead focus on this series of being behind enemy lines until it is done.
Which means I have 8 months to write, edit, and start to publish 4 lengthy books. All told that should be around 600,000 words. I'm 41,000 words into it already. So far so good! I mean, I am slightly behind schedule, considering I should have 48,000 words written by now, and I have only been able to edit 30,000 of those. The big problem I had was not the ten hour days of world building and character creation. The big problem was one annoyingly loner of a character who is somewhat integral to the story. There ended up being a lot of pacing around my office, researching online, and getting stuck on her because she was the harder of the many characters to establish. I'm closing in and I'm getting to know her better so I should be able to see a return to 4,000 word days as a given and ensure that the rest of the 150,000 word book will run smoothly (yes, I did actually say that).
So you wouldn't be entirely surprised that I don't know what's happened to the last two weeks, considering I've spent about 10 hours of each day writing and editing. The rest of the time seems to be eating, DVDs, and sleeping.
But the big question: do I feel like I've actually left work behind? Not quite. I'm not really thinking of it, to be honest. I had the 27th of August locked in for months and I had 'the end of August' pencilled in for a year now so it's not come as a surprise. The surprise is how little of a change this feels like. I can write to my heart's content and my heart is telling me to keep going until I drop. It doesn't feel like a holiday, it doesn't really feel like a limbo state where something is about to happen. It just feels like: get up, write, go to bed, repeat. Perhaps in a month or two I'll feel different. Maybe the shock will kick in the moment my bank account takes a hit from having to pay rent.